Meet sweet little Jessica Burger – one of many babies & children who have received loving support and care from CANSA’s TLC staff.
For Jess, life started with an unthinkable challenge – newborn and diagnosed with AML (Acute Myeloid Leukemia).
Jess spent most of her baby years in isolation. Her umbilical cord, the lifeline she knew up to the day she was born, had to immediately make way for her new lifeline – her lifesaving broviac (see gallery above). This eased the trauma and pain associated with regular chemo and other treatments and helped save her life. Read more about the benefits of broviacs & help fund purchasing more of them for our TLC children…
Jessica’s Mom Shares Her Story:
Having a firstborn brought emotions of joy and immediate love, only to discover that our precious little bundle of joy was diagnosed with AML soon after. At four weeks, the first symptoms of little red spots (petigae) appeared on her body.
Words cannot begin to describe the emotions of fear and loss when we discover the terrible ominous feeling we experienced.
Her umbilical cord was not yet gone and already she had to endure a surgical procedure to receive a broviac. Jess was only 5 weeks old when she started chemo.
As parents, we felt angry, cheated and scared not knowing what is lying ahead. The future was bleak. We lived from blood test to blood test. We learned to live for the moment. Hospital became home and we made friends we never thought would become part of our lives. Many supported and prayed and many offered love and got us through this ordeal.
Seeing other kids who had cancer and went into remission offered us a blink of hope. We lived in the hospital for 11 months and asked plenty of questions. Jessica’s dad could visit only on weekends as he had to work and we lived about 300 km from hospital.
At nine months, Jess had a bone marrow transplant. After 11 months behind glass doors, we were discharged but we had to stay near the hospital.
This freedom lasted only for two weeks. Jess battled with her lungs. We went home with oxygen as her lungs were severely affected by chemo. A mobile oxygen machine became our next best friend as it offered a bit freedom away from hospital.
Receiving support from CANSA TLC helped a lot in many ways.
The value of the emotional support included laughter and bringing us out of limbo mode. A parent should not go through this without guidance and support, something we received regularly from CANSA TLC.